What Does "All Things" Mean?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.— Philippians 4:13 What a remarkable statement; the grand finale of Philippians chapter four. After wrestling with anxiety, learning to pray about everything, recognizing the peace of God and, finally, learning to think with the right attitude and find contentment, the apostle Paul makes a bold statement: “I can do all things through Christ.”
Does he mean he can jump off tall buildings and fly? Or wish for and receive a million dollars? That would be akin to Jesus in the wilderness when Satan tempted Him to jump off the cliff or command bread to appear (Matthew 4). Jesus did not attempt to make anything happen that was not the will of God.
The verse says all things THROUGH CHRIST—as opposed to believing you are powerful enough do whatever you want.
But how do you know that what you are praying is the will of God?
God gives us examples, like in nature. Mature trees send their roots into the earth to draw minerals and water. The most important part of a tree is what you cannot see—the root system.
The most important part of a Christian’s life is the part only God sees—the deep relationship between a believer and God, and the inner strength that our heavenly Father gives us to handle the demands of life.
Jesus identified the source of this strength: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15: 4-50)
Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. Paul knew that when he wrote, “I can do all things through Christ.”
These two verses give us the tools to fulfill all that God has for us.
“If you want your life to flow more smoothly—if you want to be more productive, and learn to be more selective, and your prayers to be more effective—then live in the zone: Abide in Christ.” —Steve May1
- May, Steve, Preaching Library Volume One: Preaching Through the Year (Lulu.com, 2006), p. 244.